In recent years, cordyceps mushroom powder has gained significant attention in the health and wellness community due to its numerous benefits. Although Cordyceps has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, modern research has helped us uncover some truths about its benefits for both physical and mental well-being.
Cordyceps mushroom powder is known to offer various advantages, including nootropic benefits that enhance cognitive function and physical enhancements that make it an athlete's dream. Follow us as we explore the wonders of cordyceps mushroom powder, its powerful effects, and what research says about its ability to improve overall well-being.
Table of Contents
Cordyceps mushroom powder is a convenient way to incorporate daily doses.
Cordyceps has been associated with various benefits, including boosting physical and cognitive function.
A cordyceps extract powder contains more bioactive compounds and may be a better choice fro therapeutic use.
What is Cordyceps Mushroom Powder?
Cordyceps mushroom powder is a concentrated form of the Cordyceps fungus, a medicinal mushroom praised for its cognition and performance-enhancing benefits. Sometimes known as the “athletes mushroom,” cordyceps supplements are highly sought after by those looking to improve athletic performance, boost cognition, and promote immunity and vitality.
But, not all types of cordyceps supplements are the same, and certain forms of Cordyceps mushroom powder are far superior to other products. Let’s take a look, and then we’ll dig into the benefits of cordyceps mushroom powder.
Cordyceps Sinensis vs Militaris
In the wild, Cordyceps grows primarily in the high-altitude regions of the Himalayas and other mountainous areas in Asia. Traditionally, this mushroom was harvested by hand and used in Chinese medicine for its wide range of health benefits. Now, the Cordyceps Sinensis variety of this mushroom is extraordinarily rare due to over-harvesting, so the lab-cultured Cordyceps Militaris variety is most popular for therapeutic use.
Luckily, aside from being much more affordable and readily available, Cordyceps militaris may have a significant therapeutic advantage over the sinesis variety. It contains cordycepin, a bioactive compound that’s linked to a wide range of health benefits.
According to one report, the benefits associated with cordycepin include:
- Hypo-sexuality management
Cordyceps Powder vs Other Dosing Methods
Cordyceps supplements are commonly available in three forms: tinctures, extracts, powders. The three are very different, offer different benefits and dosing styles, so it's important to familiarize yourself with each:
Powdered cordyceps consist of ground-up mushroom material. They usually include the whole mushroom and all of its nutritional compounds, like fiber and various vitamins. However, whole mushroom powders are generally lacking in beta-glucans, the bioactive compounds responsible for the health benefits of mushrooms.
While powders are less concentrated than extracts, they can still provide potential health benefits. Particularly, they are more useful for nutritional purposes because they contain all of the natural vitamins, minerals, and fiber from the mushroom.
Cordyceps extracts are concentrated forms of cordyceps, usually obtained through a process of hot water extraction or dual extraction (using both water and alcohol). This extraction method aims to isolate the beneficial compounds from the mushroom, making them more bioavailable and easier for the body to absorb.
Cordyceps Tinctures are usually alcohol extracted, liquid concoctions that may carry some benefit. But, like whole mushroom powders, they are often lacking in bioactive compounds. This is because alcohol degrades the beta-glucans content of the extract material. So, while tinctures may have their place, they are not generally considered to be the most therapeutically significant form of Cordyceps.
How to Choose a Cordyceps Supplement
When choosing between extracts, powders, and tinctures, consider factors such as potency, convenience, and personal preference. Extracts tend to be more potent and require smaller doses, while powders offer versatility and can be easily added to beverages or recipes.
Generally speaking, mushroom powder is NOT the best mushroom product to use as a wellness supplement. Mushroom extract, on the other hand, is a concentrated version of the bioactive compounds (called beta-glucans) found in the mushroom. You can find Cordyceps mushroom extract powders that offer the convenience of a mix-in powder with all of the benefits of an extract.
Cordyceps Mushroom Powder Benefits
There are many proposed benefits of cordyceps mushroom, and anecdotal reports suggest a range of benefits that extend to both physical and mental functions. Some purported benefits of Cordyceps extract powder include:
- Enhanced blood flow
- Enhanced physical performance
- Stabilized blood sugar
- Anti-aging effects
- Anti-tumor effects
- Anti-inflammatory effects
To align with the scope of this article, we'll elaborate on the benefits that have some research backing, which include:
1. Antioxidant Properties
Cordyceps mushroom powder is abundant in antioxidants, which play a crucial role in neutralizing harmful free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause oxidative stress, leading to cellular damage and various health issues. Antioxidants help to limit inflammation, which may help to promote better muscle recovery. Antioxidants are also linked to various anti-aging and neuroprotective effects.
According to research, Cordyceps Militaris has a more potent inhibitory effect on liposome peroxidation, a natural process that leads to the breakdown of cells and their signaling function. According to this same study, however, the Sinensis variety is better at inhibiting protein oxidation, which is a mechanism that’s implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
2. Nootropic Benefits
Cordyceps has gained attention as a potential natural nootropic due to its ability to support brain health and cognitive function. Nootropics, sometimes referred to as “smart drugs,” are substances that enhance cognitive function, memory, focus, and overall mental performance.
Cordyceps may exert its nootropic effects through various mechanisms, including:
2.1. Improved Memory and Learning
Studies suggest that cordyceps mushroom powder may positively impact memory and learning abilities. It is believed that cordyceps can stimulate the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter essential for memory and learning processes. By enhancing acetylcholine levels, cordyceps mushroom powder may lead to better retention of information and improved cognitive performance.
Cordyceps has also been shown to increase cerebral blood flow, which improves oxygen and nutrient delivery to the brain. According to one study, this may help to improve both learning and memory. Additionally, Cordyceps may enhance energy metabolism in brain cells, leading to increased ATP production and improved neuronal function.
Furthermore, Cordyceps exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may help protect the brain against oxidative damage and neuroinflammation. These effects may contribute to its potential in preventing age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.
2.2. Enhanced Focus and Concentration
Because cordyceps may increase blood flow to the brain, it is thought to increase blood flow to the brain, promoting better focus and mental clarity. Unfortunately, this effect has not been thoroughly studied, but anecdotal reports are positive.
2.3. Stress Reduction
Chronic stress can have detrimental effects on cognitive function. Cordyceps mushroom powder may have adaptogenic properties, which means it can help the body adapt to stress and maintain a state of balance. By reducing stress levels, cordyceps contribute to improved mental health and cognitive performance.
3. Respiratory Health
In traditional Chinese medicine, cordyceps have been used to support respiratory health. It is believed to help with conditions like asthma and bronchitis due to its anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator properties. Cordyceps mushroom powder can aid in relaxing and opening up the airways, facilitating better breathing.
A recent study found that both Cordyceps militaris and Cordyceps sinensis may help to relieve symptoms related to respiratory illness.
4. Blood Sugar Stabilization
Cordyceps contains a special carbohydrate that is thought to be useful in managing blood sugar levels. More specifically, some researchers believe that it may help to manage Type 2 Diabetes.
Some evidence suggests that they may also protect against kidney disease, a common complication of diabetes. In a 2014 review of 22 studies, researchers concluded that subjects who took cordyceps often experienced improved kidney function. However, the authors of this review pointed out that many of these studies used were flawed, so more conclusive evidence is needed to understand how effectively Cordyceps could be used in this aspect.
5. Enhanced Immune Function
Research suggests that cordyceps mushroom powder can boost the immune system's functionality. The bioactive compounds found in cordyceps may help in increasing the production of white blood cells, promoting better immunity against infections and illnesses. Regular consumption of cordyceps mushroom powder can be especially beneficial during seasonal changes when the immune system may need extra support.
Another study found that Cordyceps may even be effective for treating autoimmune diseases, though more research is needed.
6. Increased Energy and Stamina
Cordyceps mushroom powder is renowned for its potential to boost energy levels and enhance stamina. It aids in increasing the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which serves as a primary source of energy for cells. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts often use cordyceps mushroom powder to improve their endurance and overall performance.
There’s some evidence to back up this potential performance boost. In a 2016 study, mice were able to continue swimming significantly longer after taking cordyceps. A placebo-controlled study from 2006 confirmed similar results in humans while doing exhaustive running exercises.
A 2004 study tested the effects of a strain of Cordyceps called Cs-4, or cordyceps Sinensis, on exercise capacity in 30 healthy older adults. Participants received either a dose of 3 grams of Cordyceps or a placebo pill daily.
Over the course of 6 weeks, 7% of the cordyceps group experienced increased fitness levels, while the placebo group experienced no change. Another 2010 study involving 20 healthy elderly patients produced similar results.
Another 2017 study found that a mushroom blend containing cordyceps had similar results on young adults, but further research suggests that cordyceps may have no impact on athletic performance in high-performing athletes. In other words, Cordyceps mushrooms may have a beneficial impact on the athletic performance of people who have not yet reached their full athletic potential.
How to Use Cordyceps Mushroom Powder
Cordyceps mushroom powder is available in various forms, including capsules, powders, and extracts. As mentioned above, powdered extracts are usually the best way to go for therapeutic purposes.
The recommended dosage may vary depending on the individual's health goals and the product's potency. It is essential to follow the product’s guidelines or consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your specific needs.
When you have a high-quality cordyceps powder in hand, there are various ways you can incorporate it into your daily wellness regimen. You may consider:
- Smoothies: Blend a teaspoon of cordyceps mushroom powder into your favorite smoothie recipe for a nutritious and brain-boosting beverage.
- Coffee or Tea: Stir cordyceps mushroom powder into your morning coffee or tea for an added cognitive kick.
- Capsules: If you prefer a more convenient option, opt for cordyceps mushroom powder in capsule form. Or, add the cordyceps powder of your choice to empty capsules.
If you want to take full advantage of the "functional" side of functional mushrooms, consider a mushroom super-blend like our Lucid Coffee, Chai, or Matcha powders. It takes full advantage of the benefits of these superfood mushrooms by pairing Cordyceps, Maitake, Tremella, and Lion's Mane, plus powerful nootropics, like BCAA's, L-Theanine, Alpha-GPC, and more.